Reports And Whitepapers

Staying True to Its “Roots”: How Will Growth Change Local Food Systems?

November 24, 2014

  • Local food: Growing pains
  • Why local food?
  • How are the local food systems doing?
  • How can local food systems meet these challenges?
  • What does it mean to be “local”?

Navigating Troubled Waters: A Primer for Managers on Water Challenges and Opportunities

November 5, 2014

  • Water everywhere? An emerging global water crisis
  • The impacts of a water crisis
  • ‘Water Wars’: Understanding emerging conflicts
  • Industry focus: Sectors facing tensions
  • Moving forward: Opportunities and solutions

Innovations in Biodiversity Management

July 29, 2014

  • Global biodiversity loss and ecosystem services
  • The science of biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Biodiversity management strategies
  • Open considerations about how companies can make the business case for biodiversity management, working with and through the unknown–a systems approach, complementary action and use in the business context

Lessons for Detroit from Medellín, Colombia

April 21, 2014

Steve Davidson, Erb ’14 takes home lessons for Detroit from Medellin Columbia.

  • Metro–the city’s public transit arteries
  • Metrocable–connections for the city’s poorest neighborhoods
  • Public spaces and public art–inspiring hope in a hopeless place
  • Unidades Deportivas–building community through healthy living
  • Inspired perseverance to overcome persistent obstacles

Spanish Translation 

The Role of the Private Sector in Addressing Resource Scarcity Risk

January 27, 2014

Hydraulic Fracturing in the state of Michigan: Public perceptions technical report

October 23, 2013

Kim Wolske, Research Management Fellow, Erb Institute and
Andrew Hoffman, Director, Erb Institute
Lukas Strickland, Research Assistant, School of Natural Resources & Environment

One of seven technical reports completed for the Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan Integrated Assessment, conducted by the University of  Michigan, this report reviews the current state of knowledge on public perceptions of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF).  The objective is to highlight issues that may be relevant to HVHF-related policy in Michigan.

MAP – Rapid Growth of Antalya, Turkey and Taxis

May 13, 2013

City of Antalya
Multidisciplinary Action Project

Authors: Aamer Ali, Santiago Gomez-Bernal, Shaun Herbert and Michael Rockett (’15)
Faculty Advisor: Ted O’Leary

Abstract: The government in Turkey had asked major cities to complete sustainable transport plans, Antalya among them.  That plan is about to be made public within the next few months.  The Mayor’s office asked the MAP team to contribute by examining how taxi operations could be better integrated within the overall transport plan.  This involved looking at issues of sustainability in conjunction with concerns to ensure equitable availability of taxis to all zones and demographics within the city.

Read the final report

Designing Innovative Corporate Water Risk Management Strategies from an Ecosystem Services Perspective

May 10, 2013

Designing Innovative Corporate Water Risk Management Strategies from an Ecosystem Services Perspective
Multidisciplinary Action Project

Authors: Daniel Gerding (’14), Berry Kennedy (’14), Makely Lyon (’14), Joshua Rego, and Emily Taylor (’14)
Advisor: Don Scavia, Ph.D.

Abstract: In January of 2012, we teamed up with representatives from the sustainability department at The Dow Chemical Company with the goal of creating a viable, creative solution that would advance The Company’s efforts to address the risk associated with freshwater scarcity. With uncertainty surrounding the impacts of climate change and other environmental threats, it is becoming increasingly important for corporations to fully understand and incorporate the value of the benefits nature provides into strategic decisions. The focal ecosystem service of our project was freshwater provisioning. Freshwater is critical to life and a key ingredient to many economic activities, such as power generation, agriculture and industrial processes. Water scarcity is of particular interest to Dow, given that 20 percent of The Company’s global production comes from the Freeport, Texas facility on the water-stressed Brazos River. Read more

View the full project

Environmental assessment of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles using naturalistic drive cycles and vehicle travel patterns: A Michigan case study

April 22, 2013

Environmental assessment of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles using naturalistic drive cycles and vehicle travel patterns: A Michigan case study (html)

Authors: Brandon M. Marshall (Erb ’13), Jarod C. Kelly, Tae-Kyung Lee, Gregory A. Keoleian,  Zoran Filipi

Publication: Energy Policy
Publisher: Elsevier


  • Travel patterns from survey data are combined with naturalistic drive cycles.
  • More realistic PHEV energy modeling using these synthesized real-world drive cycles.
  • Methodology is demonstrated for PHEVs in Michigan but applicable for other regions.
  • Energy and emissions findings have major implications for PHEV standards and policy.

Read more: Environmental assessment of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles using naturalistic drive cycles and vehicle travel patterns: A Michigan case study (pdf)

University Of Michigan Health System: Waste Stream Assessment & Strategy

April 22, 2013

Client Organization: University of Michigan Health System
Secondary Client Organization: Patient Food & Nutrition Services
Secondary Client Website: Patient Food & Nutrition Services
SNRE Faculty Advisor: Ming Xu
Master Students Involved in Project: 
  • Jenna Agins (Erb ’13), MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Annie Cronin (Erb ’14), MBA/MS Environmental Policy and Planning
  • Catherine Dyson (Erb ’14), MBA/MS Sustainable Systems
  • Kate Newlin, MS Sustainable Systems
Summary of Project Idea: 

About Patient Food and Nutrition Services (PFANS) 
PFANS prepares and provides food and food services to patients throughout the UM health and hospital system including, University Hospital, Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the Cardiovascular Center. It also delivers meals and supplements to elderly outpatients through its Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels program. PFANS staffs about 250 employees and has an operating budget of over $16 million.

About the Project
With the opening and construction of several new facilities, PFANS is currently going through significant transition in the way it operates. These developments provide a significant and timely platform for a student team to assess and make actionable recommendations on how to change PFANS’s waste stream management to incorporate industry-leading sustainability strategies. There is significant impetus from the group to find opportunities for waste reduction that streamlines operational processes and delivers tangible cost-savings. These opportunities will help further the dual goals of reducing PFANS’s waste footprint and continuing to remain a leader in healthcare delivery. Considerations include expansion and improvement of recycling efforts (possibility taking advantage of existing programs within the University of Michigan), incorporation of composting processes in new facilities, product improvement/replacement, vendor selection, operational assessment, social and environmental benefits to stakeholders, employee engagement and cost analysis. The final deliverable would be a comprehensive waste management strategy, business plan and possible action plan for a pilot program. Read more

SNRE Program Areas: 

  • Behavior, Education, and Communication
  • Sustainable Systems